Here's Our Travel Guide to This Nation of Over 7,000 Islands
Neapolitan joint emphasizing local produce
Big River was born out of local farmers markets, so it’s no surprise they opened their shop across the street from one of the busiest in St. Paul. They call their pizza style “Minne-politan” -- a neapolitan thin crust combined with fresh, local produce, cheeses, and meats. During the warmer months, Big River also has an oven-on-wheels that they bring around to local festivals and events. Try the St. Paulie Girl with prosciutto, onion, and arugula, or the 10,000 Leeks with Gruyere, potato, leeks, and sour cream.
North Loop, Whittier, St. Paul
Smoky slices leading the local coal-fired pack
Black Sheep was the first coal-fired restaurant in the Cities, and firing pies using that method has two benefits. One, it’s good for the environment thanks to its comparatively low emissions, and two, the crust gets a charred, slightly smoky flavor. Black Sheep numbers its pizzas 1-12, and its the approach is more minimalist than many other places, but Black Sheep favors quality over quantity. Be sure to try the hot salami and dried chili pepper (No. 3), the oyster mushroom and rosemary (No. 7), or the Persian beef, feta, and harissa (No. 11) pies.
An underground cavern hiding an upscale pizza bar
Located directly underneath Burch Steakhouse (you may not even notice the downstairs entrance,) Burch Pizza is already on a whole other level. In what looks like a cave, Chef Isaac Becker’s bar serves up carefully chosen wines while the pizza menu pulls off some unusual combinations. The Gorgonzola e Mela, with creme fraiche, gorgonzola, bacon, and apple, is a hit as is the Tonno Diavolo with tomato, tuna, endive, and lime.
North Minneapolis (& Greater Twin Cities)
A faithful standby that will never empty your wallet
With 16 locations across the state (almost all in the metro), Broadway Pizza has been serving up fairly priced, classic thin-crust pies for more than 60 years. The Broadway in North Minneapolis is considered the “landmark” location, nestled right along the railroad tracks near the Mississippi. Standout pies include the Classic Deluxe, Pork n’ Kraut, and Meat at Broadway.
Downtown St. Paul
Old-school pizza with a legacy more than 100 years old
Cossetta has been serving award-winning, authentic pizzas since 1911 -- a really long time to perfect a pie. Its dough is always made from scratch and kneaded by hand into a thin, crispy crust, and topping your order with the restaurant’s house-made Italian sausage is a no-brainer. Pies here are simple: Order by the number of toppings you want, and choose from a lengthy ingredient list. While you won’t find Cossetta on the list of latest hotspots, knowing you can eat the exact same pizza people ordered 100+ years ago is pretty cool.
Pies delivered by superheroes (seriously) give back to the environment
Ever had your pizza delivered by a caped crusader? Well, Galactic Pizza isn’t your average pie place. Its pizzas are brought to your door on bike, foot, or electric vehicle by someone dressed in a superhero costume. It’s all part of the restaurant’s philosophy to deliver “planet-saving pizza” with the power of renewable wind energy, recycled packaging, and menus printed on hemp paper. Galactic also offers a variety of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Try the current CSA (community-supported agriculture) pizza, The Organic Veggie, or The Second Harvest Heartland, from which partial proceeds go to Minnesota’s largest hunger relief organization. All this makes you feel a little less guilty about eating the whole pizza, right?
Uptown (& Greater Twin Cities)
Chicago-style slices finally imported to the Cities
Although Giordano’s is a Chicago institution, since its auspicious arrival, loyal fans haven't had to travel far to satisfy a craving. The chain popularized the deep-dish stuffed pizza in the '70s, and no one else does it quite the same. In Uptown, hungry post-happy hour 20-somethings pack the place, with stands of doughy goodness topping the tables. Obviously, order the Chicago Classic -- pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, and onions -- on a stuffed deep-dish crust.
Homey, deep-fried crust with lots of combos
This nondescript building may not look like much from the outside, but inside Tim Niver’s old-school Italian eatery has been serving up serious pies for the past year. With a strong menu, it’s hard to choose, but the Camilla (topped with garlic butter and fried chicken) or the Beazy (with special sauce, meatballs, and fresh ricotta) come highly recommended. Mucci’s makes its pizzas with thick crusts, frying the pizza dough before it’s baked for prime fluffiness. Wash your slice down with the “house special,” Mucci’s Juice -- a mix of red wine and Orange Fanta.
Dinkytown, Uptown, Stadium Village
The best bet after hitting the bars on a late night
With two locations in close proximity to college kids and recent grads, Mesa is the go-to spot for a 2am slice. Even better, there are more than 40 funky pies on the menu so even if you go often, you won’t run out of options. Popular after-bar foods (think gyros, French fries, and mac & cheese) have been transformed into pizza toppings. The results are weird, but they work. The tortellini pesto, Philly cheesesteak, and chicken quesadilla pizzas will have you wondering why you haven’t tried to drunkenly create these combos at home.
Northeast, Longfellow, St. Louis Park
Neighborhood joint with kid-friendly games and nosh
Parkway is the epitome of a neighborhood pizza place -- families pack in after soccer practice, couples pick up for Friday date nights, and birthday parties bring boisterous gaggles of kids. The pizza is square-cut, thin crust, and generously topped. Try the Minnehaha Greek, the spicy garlic chicken, or pico de gallo pies. Vegan and gluten-free diners can be accommodated.
Suburban spot that prides itself on pork toppings
The former Travail Kitchen & Amusements site was revamped into a more family-friendly pizza pub when that gourmet restaurant moved down the street. However, Pig Ate My Pizza is owned by the same smart Travail team and delivers an equally squeal-worthy dining experience. The suburban shop serves its pies on thick, buttery crusts with loads of cheese and of course, meat. Try the Bay o’ Pigs with Gruyere, ham, and pastrami, or the Piggy Pie with bacon emulsion, black pepper fennel, and pork lovers’ sausage. (These pies can be made gluten-friendly.)
Downtown Minneapolis (& Greater Twin Cities)
Local chain with creative pies you can order from anywhere
Luce lovers agree -- this pizza purveyor has creative flavor combinations and great beer pairings. And, with seven local shops, it’s almost guaranteed one will deliver (in a box adorned with a heart) if you live in the Cities or surrounding suburbs. With pies like the baked potato pizza and the Fire Breathing Dragon (sweet chili sauce and spicy Jerk chicken), you’re bound to get something other than a standard one-topping. Luce also offers vegan and gluten-free options for nearly everything on the menu.
Korean BBQ pies served in a welcoming, wood-paneled space
Six years ago, entrepreneur Ann Kim quit her day job to open an artisanal pizza place, and ever since, it’s been standing-room-only most nights. A trained pizza-maker, Kim brings her Korean heritage to many pies on the menu, such as The Lady ZaZa (house-made kimchi, Korean sausage, and sesame soy-chili glaze) and Korean BBQ (beef short ribs, scallions, and arugula). Lola's wood-paneled dining room -- which is arranged around its oven -- also features a photo booth, solid wine and beer list, and special soft-serve ice cream with olive oil and sea salt.
Craft burger maestro brings his expertise to pizza
Restaurateur Luke Shimp has given his wildly successful Red Cow burger enterprise an Italian sibling -- Red Rabbit. A relative newcomer to the North Loop dining scene, Rabbit does great things with the pizza portion of the menu. The spicy salami pizza is probably the most-ordered pie, with chilis, ricotta, and honey, and the Yukon Gold is equally epicurious with rosemary, pancetta, and runny egg. It’s probably only a matter of time before Rabbit opens more locations like its older brother.
Pizza fit for fine dining, with a European flourish
Ann Kim’s third restaurant in town has been open for less than a year and is still a difficult spot to score on OpenTable. Sister to Pizzeria Lola in South Minneapolis, Young Joni is more upscale, offering fine-dining touches and an impressive back bar. The pizzas are globally influenced and adorned with names like La Parisienne (prosciutto, gruyere, and brown butter) and The Basque (Spanish chorizo, piquillo pepper, and Castelvetrano olives). They’re so good, it often requires weeks if not months to get in, so plan accordingly.
1. Burch1933 Colfax Ave S, Minneapolis
2. Pizza Lucé119 N 4th St, Minneapolis
3. Black Sheep Pizza600 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis
4. Parkway Pizza Northeast2851 Johnson St NE, Minneapolis
5. Pizzeria Lola5557 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis
6. Punch Neapolitan Pizza704 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul
7. Crescent Moon Bakery2339 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis
8. Fat Lorenzo's5600 Cedar Ave S, Minneapolis
9. Mavericks Pizza1215 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul
10. Di Noko's Pizza420 South 4th St, Minneapolis
11. Red Wagon Pizza Company5416 Penn Ave S, Minneapolis
12. Pizza Nea - Northeast306 E Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis
13. Hello Pizza3904 Sunnyside Rd, Edina
14. Pig Ate My Pizza4154 W Broadway Ave, Robbinsdale
15. Mesa Pizza1323 4th St SE, Minneapolis
16. Mucci's786 Randolph Ave, Saint Paul
James Beard-nominated chef Isaac Becker is behind this steakhouse-slash-pizzeria in Minneapolis. On the first floor, Burch Steakhouse serves an eclectic menu filled with raw bar options, prime beef and domestic Wagyu, and a variety of European-style dumplings. In the basement, the Pizza Bar bangs out Neapolitan-style pies from a white oak-fueled pizza oven. Every pizza comes with an exciting combination of toppings -- hey, there aren't many places you can get pizza topped with a lobster claw.
Pizza Lucé is a modern boutique pizza parlor that is a beloved Twin City staple. Creative pies like the wildly popular "Baked Potato Pizza" (loaded with garlicky potatoes, broccoli, diced tomatoes, and bacon) and "Fire Breathing Dragon" (sweet chili sauce, jerk chicken or tofu, pineapple salsa, mozzarella, and gouda) are fan favorites. This spot offers over a dozen other innovative pies, all of which range from "vegan" to "vegan upon request," and even "gluten-free upon request" -- and the option to build your own.
The first coal-burning restaurant in Minneapolis (!), Black Sheep cranks out delicious pizzas using a method that is practically emission-free. Slight more important, the crusts are given a great smoky flavor along with a slight char. There are over 10 specialty pies to choose from, topped with anything from Persian beef to oyster mushroom. But of course, standard toppings are also available (and recommended).
Midwestern-style pizza is king at this Northeast location of the small, Twin Cities chain: medium thick crust, a generous portion of sauce and toppings (31 options, to be precise), and a number of cheese selections. And In proper Midwest fashion, it’s sliced into squares and delivered directly to your table (or house). Alongside build-you-own pies, menu highlights include speciality pizzas like the artichoke deluxe, pice de gallo, and spicy garlic chicken.
Offering wood-fired pizza from a Korean immigrant trying to emulate her mother's home cooking, Lola's has delicious pies with a twist. Popular orders include "The Lady ZaZa" (red sauce, homemade kimchi, Korean sausage, peppers, scallions, sesame, and soy chili glaze) and "The Xerxes" (sautéed spinach, sheep’s milk feta, mozzarella, kalamata olives & almonds). Be sure to cleanse your palate with some of the house-made soft-serve ice cream.
Punch Pizza in Highland Park is a casual spot located in a strip-mall offshoot and specializes in old-fashioned wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas with a wide variety of toppings available. There’s nothing quite like a freshly fired Margherita pizza cooked at a blistering 900 degrees with a drizzle of olive oil, a few chili flakes and crafted to perfection.
Crescent Moon Bakery is a casual and simple restaurant, known for serving football-shaped pizzas, which in three sizes, with cracker-style crust, providing a great crunch for every bite. You can pair your pizza with some spicy green cilantro-based hot sauce that gives the pie the extra kick you never knew you wanted.
Fat Lorenzo's is an absolutely classic South Minneapolis pizza joint in all regards: heavy on toppings, and heavy on cheese. It’s a perfect little family-style pizzeria that offers a number of combination pies in 10, 14, 16, and 18in form, as well as pizza by the slice. If you manage to have some room afterward, order up a scoop or two of gelato (which is almost as good as the pizza).
This small and cute St. Paul pizzeria is pumping up delicious, hand-tossed New York-style pizzas with its own special twist: in place of your standard mozzarella-topped pie, it uses its own cheese blend of cheddar, feta, and Parmesan for an added taste. Take your pick from one of the many specialty pies, or build your own. Both choices can be made in either 8, 12, or 16in variations, or a 12in deep dish.
Di Noko's serves delicious Chicago-style deep dish pizzas with a build-your-own menu that's available for takeout, delivery, and dining in. The pizzas come with a buttery crust that is first layered with cheese, then with any topping of your choosing. It’s finally doused in fresh tomato sauce, giving it that real deep-dish appeal. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, this favorite also offers thin or hand-tossed crusts.
What started as a pizza food truck has evolved into a stylish brick-and-mortar in Armatage, where thin-crust pies and handmade pastas are the focus. The pizzas have an inevitable crispness that comes from being cooked in a wood-fired oven. The signature Red Wagon pie is topped with house-made cheese & sausage, soppressata, banana peppers, chili flakes, and fig balsamic. As for pastas, go with the fire-roasted meat lasagne.
Pizza Nea in the Northeast is a cozy gourmet wood-fired Neapolitan pizzeria offering salads and microbrews. It stands above other pizzerias in the Twin Cities with its fresh and varied toppings. For wine lovers, not only does PN have its own pizza-shop wine list, but it’s also located right across the from wine-and-cheese spot Surdyk’s, making it a perfect launching pad for (or resting place during) a night downtown.
Hello Pizza is the NY slice-style sister concept to local fave Pizzeria Lola. Successfully combining possibly America's most popular greeting with possibly America's most popular eating, this counter service spot is the place if you're looking for that New York-style crust and some quality sauce and cheese.
This pizzeria started by the gang at molecular gastronomy hotspot Travail is known for its gourmet, porchetta filled pies. The namesake Piggy Pie is a must-try for local foodies: the gloriously doughy pizza contains an incredible amount of pork on a thick, buttery brioche crust. It’s as delicious as it sounds. Run, don't walk to this one.
The Dinkytown outpost of this Twin Cities late night staple offers all the classic slices you crave (in a city with a plethora of pizzerias, Mesa manages to have the single best cheese pizza in town), plus some unconventional options that'll have you jonesing. Mac & cheese, spicy chicken burrito bits, cheesy potatoes are just some of the toppings you can pile on your pie.
Eating at this West 7th Italian restaurant comes close to eating in your own home. Owner and Chef Tim Niver likes to work the room, adding to the cozy, familial vibe of the purposely small dining space. Getting a table at Mucci's is first-come-first-served, which makes seating a group difficult, but it is so worth it. House-made pastas and traditional Italian pizzas (big slices of mozzarella, entire leaves of basil, and thin crust) are the shining stars here. Not in the mood to wait for a table? You can order any of the dinner dishes for takeout, too.